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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

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INTRODUCTORY   ESSAY.                               141
The physical structure of Orissa is very imperfectly known.
It is in general hilly, and the ranges have probably pretty
uniformly a maximum elevation of 3000 feet. They are often
table-topped ridges, separated by flat broad valleys, but per-
haps most frequently spreading out into elevated platforms.
The table-land of Sirgujah and Chota Nagpur, which forms
the northern part of the province; is an expansion of the
southern branch of the Vindhia, here forming the watershed
between the Mahanadi and the S&n. It is said to have a
mean height of 3000 feet, aud to be covered with dense
forest. The ridge which separates it from Berar presents
probably, in like manner, an extensive platform-of moderate
elevation.
Thrcrughout Orissa, the hills approach within a distance of
the sea which varies from twenty to fifty miles, and at Visd-
gapatam and Gaujam they advance close to the shore. These
hills (like the Ghats of Mysore further south) terminate very
abruptly, and are separated from the sea by an alluvial belt,
which skirts their base and advances between the different
spin's, so as to form richly-cultivated valleys among the hills.
The Ghats generally rise abruptly to an elevation of 1500
ov 2000 feet. Their flanks are covered with dense forest, as
well as the flat tops of the outer and more Lumid portions of
the spur, but in the interior these spread out into bare table-
topped ridges.
The Mahanadi being the principal river of Orissa, its valley
is the lowest part of the province. It is navigable for large
boats as far as Boad, a hundred miles above Kattak. It is
then hemmed in for some distance by mountain-spurs, but
higher up its valley expands into the level plain of Sanibalpur.,
The table-land of Umerkantak, in which the rivers Ner-
bada and Son take their rise, as well as one branch of the
Mahanadi, is au elevated tract of dense jungle, traversed only
by narrow paths, and quite removed from the great line of
tx'affic across the continent. It is said to attain an elevation
of 4500 feet; but the observations upon wliich this statement